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Pre-industrial inequality in Catalonia

Julio Martinez-Galarraga () and Marc Prat ()
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Marc Prat: Universitat de Barcelona

No 2022/430, UB Economics Working Papers from Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB School of Economics

Abstract: This paper analyses economic inequality in Catalonia in the early 18th century using the information contained in cadastral tax records. The data set includes 2,617 male taxpayers distributed across 17 towns in inland Catalonia. Our findings show that income inequality in the 1720s was lower in Catalonia than in other Western European societies, but very close to other parts of Iberia. We take advantage of the wealth of information provided by the cadastre to study economic inequality in greater depth in a pre-industrial society by looking at the different sources of income, income groups and occupations. We find that the towns with a noteworthy presence of proto-industrial activities, measured by the number of textile artisans, were less unequal. Lastly, we explore the effect of proto-industrial wool specialization on levels of inequality and suggest channels that would explain the identified effect.

Keywords: Income inequality; cadastre; Catalonia; proto-industrialization. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N33 N63 N93 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 59 pages
Date: 2022
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